America used to be a country where doing something, meant something.
Now we elect presidents based on what candidates say. Not what they have done.
We confuse talking with doing. No wonder so many things are undone. Or done so poorly. Need more energy? Make a speech, but do not let anyone build new pipelines. Talk about natural gas, just don't allow people to drill for it. Cry crocodile tears about dependence on foreign oil, but make sure we do not look for it here.
Now it is getting even worse: Instead of ignoring the doers, we are actively scorning them. People like a Donald Trump, who to his credit, refused to sit by while Do-Nothing Talkers with TV shows say he does not have the credibility to host a presidential debate.
But, somehow, Anderson Cooper does. So do personalities from the media wing of the socialist party of America, MSNBC. But Trump has nothing to say.
As if Trump should apologize for being accomplished.
Surely we have no greater example of this today than the reception Mitt Romney is getting in some quarters in his bid for the Republican nomination.
If there is anything that joins that Republican candidates for president, it is that they agree Obama is the worst president in our lifetimes and he most go.
But they are separated by something even more important: Some are talkers.
One is a doer.
Talking and passing laws and running governments can be important, especially if you are passing and not passing the right ones. But we should never confuse people who talk about creating jobs, creating wealth, and creating prosperity, with those who actually do it.
Fresh out of business school, Romney actually went into business. Showing real companies with real payrolls and products how to do better. How to stay in business. Including the company that hired him, Bain Capital.
His boss was so impressed, he convinced Romney that instead of just advising companies in trouble, Romney should buy them, fix them, and sell them. Over the next ten years, that is what he did.
Romney bought and sold or invested in Experian credit reporting agency, Domino's Pizza, Staples Superstore, AMC Entertainment, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, DoubleClick, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Toys R Us, Unisource, Warner Music Group, The Weather Channel and more than more than a hundred others.
He started with $37 million. Romney left Bain in 1998. Today Bain Capital controls $65 billion in assets.
If you had invested $1000 in Bain Capital at the beginning of Romney's fourteen-year run, that would have been worth more than $39 million by the time he was through.
And in his spare time, he saved the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City.
This guy has been doing nothing but turning around dismal enterprises that every one had forsaken. And making money at it.
Real world translation: He did a great job. Wiggle your fingers at that, Occupy Wall Street.
Now there is one more job to do. The biggest turnaround of all: The greatest country in the world.
And Romney is really the only one who has shown us he knows how to do it. Because he has done it before.
We used to honor people of achievement. Now we do not. So we get less achievement. More talking. Maybe that is the biggest turnaround challenge this turnaround expert really faces.
This post first appeared in the Bellevue Business Journal.